FREE blog weekend: This Friday, it isn’t totally free


Fridays are always free on the blog, but this Friday is the last Friday of the regular season. As a result, the cost of admission for today’s Free Blog Weekend is a required answer to the questions before venturing off onto other topics.

The discussions this season have been frenzied, varied and even contentious at times. A season that began with mixed predictions, mixed expectations and an assortment of opinions on Jim Crane, Jeff Luhnow and Bo Porter finishes this weekend with more uncertainty about the players, future and next steps for the organization.

Interestingly, this weekend’s starting trio for Houston has been panned as a positioning of sorts for the #5 spot in next season’s rotation. One of the team’s top prospects for the past few seasons — Jon Singleton — will sit this weekend, seemingly the only way to stop a hitless streak. The team’s two best pitchers have also been sidelined, shut down after surprisingly strong seasons.

So, what’s on your mind? What are you discussing? Forget it for a moment, and let’s focus on a few questions. Any one of you can make an argument the Astros could easily have won 75-80 games this year with a few changed decisions. Most of you can point to multiple moves by either Porter or Luhnow that would have improved the team’s standing, either in 2014 or for the future. And, most of you can quote chapter and verse on the TV deal, the relationship between Luhnow and Porter and the horrific play of certain players.

Question #1.

  • Most believe the Astros should/could achieve a .500 season or better in 2015. The team will likely have George Springer for a full season, a new bullpen, perhaps an upgrade at a position or two and more. So…
  • What does success look like in 2015? In wins/losses and progress in the much-discussed Luhnow Plan. You can define success however you wish.

Question #2.

  • What is the key to success in 2015? Open-ended question. Maybe it’s the new manager, the relationship between Luhnow and the new manager or maybe it’s the TV deal. Is it perhaps one of the up-and-coming prospects like Carlos Correa or Mark Appel? Or something else?

Question #3.

  • The Astros are guaranteed at least an 18-game improvement over 2013. Many would consider that a success and a step forward. How would you rate the 2014 season? Successful? Treading water? Failure? Then, support your answer. In other words, like my fifth grade teacher used to say: “Show your work.”

Okay, hope your weekend is blessed beyond measure. Look forward to reading your responses and then discussing whatever else is on your mind.

 

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67 comments on “FREE blog weekend: This Friday, it isn’t totally free

  1. Hey Chip – thanks for everything this year – your posts and the opportunity for me to post in your chipalatta.com world.
    I’ll start by answering a question you did not ask – Yes, I can’t believe the season is already over – the seasons like my years seem to sweep by in an increasingly speedy blur.
    #1 – Success in 2015 – To me – success has to start with breaking the .500 barrier. I don’t see the team putting together another 18+ game improvement, but I did not foresee Jose Altuve becoming one of the best hitters in baseball this season either. Success must include a completed TV deal because if a tree falls in the forest and is made into a major league bat and only 40% can see it……Success also means we add those 2 to 3 more good players to this team, whether it is internally (e.g. Tropeano or and additional 1/2 of Springer) or through FA or trade – a closer or SS, 3B, 1B help.Or it could be a Singleton, Castro or Dominguez finding themselves.
    #2 – The key to success is kind of like war strategy. The organization cannot give up ground it has gained – we cannot have Keuchel back at a 5+ ERA or Altuve hitting like it is 2013. I think the most critical key to improvement will be to pick up real substantive help for the bullpen and at least one more non-Guzman like bat to go with Springer’s return.
    #3 – I consider 2014 a required success – it was going to be almost impossible for this team to repeat 2013 – both the putrid play and the calculated bad luck (by Pythagorean calculations the Astros should have won 6 more games than they did). It was not an unmitigated success that it could have been with bullpen help and a whole year of Springer. They needed 2014 to be at least what it has been. They are ending up where I thought they might this season before the season – – better than I thought they would after a terrible April, worse than I thought they would 10 days ago.

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      • Dan, speaking Pythagoreannaly, the Astros should be 70-89 with three games to go in 2014, so they still have a significant improvement, even using this complicated, Bill James formula that factors in luck with runs scored and runs allowed.

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  2. 1. We’ve got to field a team of effective major league ball players at every position. We failed in too many areas again in 2014. If we get even slightly less than average production at first, third and the third outfield position, we’ll be better. Along with that, if we finally succeed in building an effective bullpen in 2015, the wins will come, even if Altuve does not win the batting title and a couple of starters regress somewhat. It appears that we’ve developed a bit of depth in the rotation. We’ve simply got to fix those corner infield positions, even if temporary measures are taken in those areas.

    2. Success will always be determined by what happens on the field. But a full year of smart decisions, without public relations blunders and operational missteps will win back credibility that this organization sorely lacks today. That needs to begin with the owner. He should start by putting aside ego for a moment, reply to Drayton McLane’s press release in conciliatory fashion, and finally, collectively work out a television deal.

    3. Success in team sports requires a team to be competitive. And in this case, competitive for 162 games at least. Obviously, we did not meet that criteria in 2014. Had Jessie Crain not turned out to be a wash, had George Springer and Dexter Fowler played 150 games, had Matt Albers not been lost for the season early, then we might have reached that threshold in 2014. But at the same time, we got a stunning year from Altuve, and perfomances from McHugh and Keuchel that none of us could have anticipated. So if you wash the failures and the superb, unexpected performances, it’s clear that we’ve still got much work to do. So no, 2014 was not a success. There were encouraging signs, but that’s not enough at this point.

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  3. 1. Success in 2015 will be achieved through two means. First, the team cannot regress. This means we need a solid Altuve, Keuchel, McHugh, Carter, etc. performances, even with leases stats. Second, we need to see the talent infused by Luhnow knocking on the door.
    2. Health is the key to success. A healthy Springer benefits everyone in the lineup, and his immense K rate shows he needs the reps still. Also, having two thirds of our improved bullpen on the DL means Crane could have paid Becky to be a reliever on the squad and achieved the same results.
    3. Successful. For the first time in years we had hope. The team caught fire and we started talking about .500 or even what pieces could get us in WC contention. As I said above, we need to get that momentum back and keep improving now. I’m not expecting another 18 game improvement, but I firmly believe when we have this talk next year the team needs to be knocking on the door of contending (in the toughest division in baseball) or the FO needs to outline the changes that will expedite the process.

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  4. What does success look like in 2015?

    Mr. Bill’s definition of success in 2015 would include the following:
    1. 80 or more wins;
    2. Finishing the year in no lower than 2nd place in the AL West;
    3. Reduction of offensive strikeouts to approximate league average;
    4. Reduction of defensive blown holds and leads to near league average;
    5. Representation for the team in multiple positive ‘top 10’ rankings of team performance [esp. categories like top 10 teams in runs scored, in runs-scored vs. runs-allowed differential, offensive on base %, defensive WHIP, defensive runs allowed after the 6th inning; pinch-hitting OBP and RBI; offensive runs scored after the 6th inning; wins in one-run games; and wins in extra-inning games];
    6. Representation for at least four individual position players, at least two starting pitchers, and two relievers in multiple positive ‘top 25’ individual performance rankings [esp. categories like OBP, BA, runs scored, BABIP, EBH, RBI, and BARISP, and pitching categories like WHIP, ERA, K/IP and K/BB, Innings pitched per start, batting average against, holds, and saves];
    7. less than 20 games started with one or more position players sporting less than a .200 batting average;
    8. reduction of errors at every position – especially SS, 1B, P, and OF, to league average or lower;
    9. Someone who at least deserves consideration for rookie of the year;
    10. Someone [like Jose Altuve this year] who deserves consideration for MVP;
    11. Someone who at least deserves consideration for the AL Cy Young;
    12. Someone who at least deserves consideration for the AL’s Fireman of the Year;
    13. All of our minor league affiliates having winning records and at least half of them making the playoffs for their league;
    14. an excellent draft year – complete with signing all of our top 20 draft picks; and
    15. organizational healing – signified by:
    a. no scandals,
    b. no serious clubhouse drama [including but not limited to managers throwing players under the bus, or players airing their grievances against management in the national or social media];
    c. zero drug, alcohol, or PED drama, and
    d. no life- or career-threatening injuries to any of our players at any level of the organization.

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      • Second the motion by daveb. Mr. Bill, very thorough and reasoned. While I won’t take issue with your measures of success, I will suggest that if 3-15 come pass that #1 will result in quite a few more wins than 80. Realize you said 80 “or more”, but if the Astros pull off even half or two thirds of your barometer, methinks 85-86 wins is more accurate.

        Moreover, it would probably take 85-86 to accomplish #2 on your list.

        Again, good thought process. Enjoy the downtime this weekend!

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  5. What is the key to success [see above definition for success] in 2015?

    Short answer: Win more games.
    Long answer: Pitching, defense, and offense all must register meaningful improvements across the board – at all levels of the organization.
    Wild card possibilities: Injuries and scandals [see definition above] may shipwreck success at any time.

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  6. How would you rate the 2014 season? Successful? Treading water? Failure?

    2014 was . . . treading water. My suspicion is that – except for Altuve, Keuchel, Springer & Fowler [part of the year, due to injuries] and Keuchel, we did not improve as much as our competition regressed. We play most of our games against the AL West, and that is where our season will either be made or broken. In 2013, the Astros had an overall record of 25-51 in the AL West last season. Against the Athletics and Rangers the Astros were 6-32. Houston played the Mariners and Angels much closer, 9-10 and 10-9.

    In 2014, the Astros made a 10-game improvement against the AL West, going 35-41. It was 11-11-2 in series victories against the teams in the division. The biggest factor was our improvement against the Rangers. They were hit by the injury bug and were just plain bad. The A’s regressed as well. As a result, our record against the Rangers & A’s combined was 19-20 vs. 6-32 in 2013. We stayed at 9-10 against the Mariners. We regressed only against the Angels, who were the only team in the Division that was actually significantly better this year than last. Instead of 10-9 against them as we were in 2013, we wound up 7-12 against the Halos.

    We were a ‘little’ better against our most important competition. But we still lost more games in our division than we won – and to me that means that all we did was tread water. Success would require us to win more games against the AL West than we lost, and we did not do that. Failure would require us to do worse than we did in 2013, and we really did not regress in very many categories, offensively or defensively.

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    • I see I mentioned Keuchel twice in the first sentence, as if there were two of them. Well, let’s just say that Collin McHugh ‘Keucheled’ in 2014. Perhaps someone else [Folty? Tropeano? Obey?] will step up and ‘McHugh’ for us in 2015?

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  7. What does success look like in 2015? – 75-80 wins. Need to progress at many positions – Singleton has got to figure out Singleton. Probably need to find stopgaps at SS and 3B that will hit better than .220. Altuve, McHugh and Keuchel all had seasons that will be difficult to repeat. Can’t count that all 3 will. Hopefully even if Altuve doesn’t hit .340+ (and who ever repeats that not named Gwynn?) he still hits well. Prior to this season Altuve’s batting average on balls in play against off speed pitches was below .200, this year it’s at .377. This man is talented, AND adjusts. Great combination. The future is his. If he develops double digit homerun power, as I think he will, he can be a future MVP candidate. Still, even with a full season of Springer, and Altuve repeating, and McHugh and Keuchel being solid – fans are going to find its alot harder to go from 70 wins to 80 wins than it was 55 wins to 70. There is going to be a steep curve towards improvment from here on out.

    What is the key to success in 2015? Just to figure out what youngsters will continue to progress. If Singleton is hitting under mendoza on 1 June, it’s going to be time to let him revisit whatever we are calling AAA. Tropeano becoming a solid member of the rotation will help because I like Dallas and Collin, but the chances of us having 2 guys repeat sub 3 ERA seasons isn’t very high, so a key is going to be Feldman not going Feldman on us and Tropeano or Obie pitching well in a 4 spot. The key may even be to find another mid rotation arm and push that Tropeano/Oberholtzer competition to the 5th spot, and give Buchanan a look at that spot also – I know his stuff isn’t awesome, but the man throws strikes. He is my pick to be the guy that comes from nowhere, it just may be 2016 not 2015.

    How would I rate the 2014 season? As a product on the field, improved. Dominguez, Villar and Singleton are likely names we as fans will be arguing about in March, but they are all young enough that we are likely stuck with them due to lack of availability on the market of better. Of course internally I could see Singleton in AAA to start the season with Carter at 1B, opening DH for a defensively challenged Grossman, and putting Marisnick in CF or RF. There doesn’t appear to be much on the FA market at 3B outside of Panda, and he is going to cost – probably going to have to even overpay that cost to get him to Houston.

    Very open ended questions Chip – great convo starters – people can go a million directions with it. The key to getting better from here can be made in tons of areas – and we will likely here them all. A manager that fits the GM’s vision of how the players he hands them are used will help – it’s not a question of if you like Luhnow or not, but you are stuck with him, and you want a manager that sees things the same way – because Luhnow is the one handing him the assets. If they aren’t on the same page then the manager will not have the players to fit his style. That’s why I’m not surprised Hinch was one of the first guys talked about, and why I’m not surprised Biggio’s name hasn’t come up yet.

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    • Sorry – editors note – Altuve was hitting .249 against breaking pitches prior to this year. Still, from .249 to .377 is insane. He is second in the league in infield hits, and he leads the league in hits up the middle. It’s easy to say he will regress when you look at a .365 BABIP, but it’s very difficult to find what area you would expect that regression. I think he may strike out a little more next year since he had never really been below 10% as a professional, and he isn’t just below 10%, he killed that number becoming one of the hardest guys in baseball to strike out, so maybe that’s where it will come. It also could be that he is just now entering his physical prime too – and getting stronger, giving him better bat control, and as noted, through work and discipline has taken the outside slider away from opposing pitchers.

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      • When I say climb, I mean I could see it going from 7.6% this year to 8.5% next year, nothing significant. I think it would be unreasonable to assume he will hit .343 next year. The guy is so fast I don’t expect infield hits (29 so far) to decline. His line drive rate is solid. He hits a lot of balls up the middle. I don’t see anywhere else his BABIP would drop unless he gets a little closer to his career norm in K%.

        I think his BABIP next year drops around .345, his K rate increases to around 8.5%, his power numbers increase slightly, and he slightly redefines himself as a .330/10-12 HR guy, and is still an all-star and batting title contender. Admittedly, it’s all guesswork.

        Regardless, we agree that he is in the best second baseman in baseball conversation with Cano.

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      • Do you have stats for swings at pitches outside the zone with two strikes? It seemed as though in his first year he was a little too protective and expanded the zone considerably. As for 2013, I’m not ready to consider that as a predictor for the future as the collision with Paredes derailed things for him.

        I think the most important thing is for Altuve to NOT try to improve his power numbers. We’ve seen him take advantage of foolish outfield alignments to grab gimme doubles, but trying to reach the Crawford boxes with regularity is not likely to benefit the team as much as it hurts through increased fly ball and K outs.

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      • Can’t find anything quite that specific. His two strike averages are all over the place, but they are such small sample.

        He leads the league in first pitch hits, and it’s not even close. I think his skill set is why he doesn’t walk that much – but his overall O-swing rate is still far worse than the major league average.

        Not sure where my brain is today – it’s all over the place I guess – but an increase in K rate isn’t going to affect BABIP. Maybe he has had a little luck on his side also – so while I think he won’t repeat a .365 BABIP – I do think multiple batting titles are in this guys future. He profiles the same way Tony Gwynn did. Gwynn was 24 in 1984 when he posted a .351 average off of a .359 BABIP and an impossible to repeat K%. The next season was great too – but not 1984 great. I think Jose is here to stay, and will have seasons again like this one, and while every season I believe will be good – they won’t all be great.

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  8. Hmmm. Not sure if this is good or bad. The Astros met face-to-face with Boston bench coach Torey Lovullo about the manager’s position this week. Reading up on him a bit, but couldn’t get past this part. Apparently, his father was a producer on the show Hee Haw. So, he’s been around laughingstock’s before. Strike one? Or in his favor?

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  9. My turn on the stand…

    Question #1.
    ◾What does success look like in 2015?

    The level of a successful season is measured by winning more games than losing. Just a qualifying answer.

    Question #2.
    ◾What is the key to success in 2015? Open-ended question. Maybe it’s the new manager, the relationship between Luhnow and the new manager or maybe it’s the TV deal. Is it perhaps one of the up-and-coming prospects like Carlos Correa or Mark Appel? Or something else?

    The biggest key is to have good or great pitching and good or great hitting at the same time. This season reached the all star break with too many players hitting under .200 in the everyday lineup. When 5 or 6 of the 9 batters are this bad, one should look at the GM. Jim Crane needs to show that he is wanting to improve the organizational culture. Drayton, for all of his problems, was in the public eye rooting for the team. Crane steps on his own toes. The only sense of excitement has been when Springer was active and playing and as Altuve cruises for the batting title. Otherwise, the entire organization seems to be in the doldrums.

    Question #3.
    ◾The Astros are guaranteed at least an 18-game improvement over 2013. Many would consider that a success and a step forward. How would you rate the 2014 season? Successful? Treading water? Failure? Then, support your answer. In other words, like my fifth grade teacher used to say: “Show your work.”

    An 18 game improvement over 2013 is a successful move in the right direction. The puzzling question is how did they do it? Dallas K, Feldman, McHugh stepped up and had successful, and in a couple of instances, breakout seasons. Springer showed up and proved he is the real deal. Altuve has just been insane with his running and hitting all season. Carter showed up for a three month+ stretch and showed the promise of what Luhnow thought his bat would provide.

    On the other hand, Peacock was tipping his pitches and was routinely abused. (Why couldn’t the video guys notice this beforehand?) Obie should sue for nonsupport of hitting. The bullpen??? Beyond Sipp and for the most part Veras and Qualls, these players were gasoline jockeys. They are better off working at a full-service gas station.

    The position players….

    First base: Everyone put over there hit below .200! Since Berkman left, the position has become a hitters black hole. Sure, Singleton has provided some pop but I don’t want to see a Dave Kingman type over there. Give me Bags or Puma! Even Cater has not produced when he has played the position. Position grade— F

    Second base: The ONLY bright spot on the entire team! Altuve has brought it everyday that he plays and he gives his full effort. He IS the heart of the team now. Position grade– A+

    Shortstop: Marwin has proven to be adequate when he has manned this spot with both his fielding and his bat. Tragically, it seems Luhnow has deemed that Villar be given every chance to prove that he is not mature enough to play the position. Such a talent but no idea of maturity. Position grade– C-

    Third base: What a disappointment here! I was certain Dominguez was going to blossom, this season, into a star. The power is there and the promise of RBI output as well. All too often, he hits a grounder and jogs to first base or he strikes out. He has no fire in his belly! Position grade– D+

    Catcher: Another disappointment here. I thought Castro was going to improve but he regressed in many areas. He has brought the power again but the RBIs and batting average are down. I believed Carlos was going to be a great backup but he has fallen off the proverbial cliff. Carlos used to throw behind the runners at first base often but, this season, the throws have dwindled. Is this Luhnow’s doing? Both catchers has proven to me to have regressed with their defense. Too many passed balls and dropped throws from the other fielders. Position grade– C-

    The outfielders have been in revolving positions the entire year so I feel I cannot place one in a permanent position. So I will address them individually.

    Fowler: A real puzzle. He has speed, range, and has proven to have a bat. He has also proven to have a knack for getting injured. He has now added a lack of interest and effort to his resume. No base stealing desire, no effort to field difficult chances in the field. Grade– C

    Grossman: Basically a fifth outfielder. Some speed, pop, base stealing ability. Starts the season too slow at the plate and has mental lapses in the field. Grade– D

    Marisnick: Speed, pop, hitting for average now. Plus-plus defender. Need to see more of him. Grade: B-

    Springer: The real deal! I wish to see more base stealing. Grade: B

    Presley: Why is he on the team? Grade F

    Hoes: See Presley.

    So many holes in the team still. Get some wins in the future, get rid of the inflated ticket prices when certain teams come to visit. Firm up the set up rotation and put some fire in the bellies. The offseason is upon us so let’s gather around the hot stove and keep warm.

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    • I’m ok with most your grades. I am more skeptical of Marisnick than most – afterall most Astros fans didn’t watch this guy fail in Miami, and I mean Singleton/Krauss type fail, they’ve just watched the short sample in Houston.

      Bottom line – Grossman will finish the season with a 50-60 point spread on OBP, struck out a smidgen less. Their slugging percentages are on top of one another. Whichever you go with, you pick your poison – good defense, but won’t get on base even 30% of the time -but can run well when he gets there – or bad defense, but gets on base a lot more, even more than the average major leaguer will, runs a little less but isn’t horrible at it. They are probably deserving of very similar C- grades.

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      • His numbers in Miami were bad, but many players struggle in their first cup of coffee in the majors. He only had 157 total ABs with Miami. He has only been in Houston since the trade deadline, but already has 161 ABs. I wouldn’t judge him based upon his Miami or Houston numbers yet. I like guys that get on base so I like Grossman, but, as you said, it is a pick your poison with those 2. Let’s give it more time.

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    • Tim – my critiques of Marisnick are not based solely on his time in MLB. His high strike out rates and low walk rates are as a professional, and they have progressively worsened as he progressed levels. Grossman’s K rate has risen, as does most major leaguers, but he still walks at high rates.

      Since July 1st Grossman has posted a .371 OBP. 371! Marisnick is at .306 since 1 July. If you are ready to dismiss Marisnick’s time in Miami, you also have to dismiss Robbie’s terrible start.

      Neither one are future all stars. Both have to find their niche. Both have easy to see weaknesses – Grossman strikes out more than you like, he plays poor defense, and he doesn’t have the power you like to see in a corner outfielder. Marisnick has no power, strikes out way too much, and doesn’t draw walks. They deserve about the same grade.

      Now that said, the one that becomes the backup next year, as I think they will both be on the roster out of ST, is going to be the one that does the best job at learning to minimize those weaknesses.

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      • Oops – meant the one that becomes the starter next year, as we know we will see Fowler (if he is still here) and Springer on opening day.

        Of course it is possible that Grossman takes over at DH so Carter moves to first. Given Singleton’s contract status though I am guessing unless he goes 0-27 in ST he will be at the bag.

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      • I agree with most of everything you said you except I think Marisnick has more power than you think and definitely more than RG. Otherwise, you are correct.

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    • That was a great article. I guess Peter didn’t get the memo that Collin is done for the season. In the article he mentions that he will close out the regular season on Sunday starting against the team that drafted him. Of course, I won’t hold that against Peter as most of the national media are not tuned in to what the Astros are doing right now.

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    • Sorry, Chip. I am on my work laptop again and that darn IE7 just limits my character space. I have an IPad, but I have to chicken peck my post. Please don’t fine me.

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    • I am not certain they came from Strom, or came from some computer guy in the back that pointed out success rates of certain pitches McHugh throws.

      Strom is 65, been around pitching his entire life. He was the second receipient of the now famous Tommy John surgery. He worked as a minor league roving instructor for St. Louis for 7 years, which probably has a lot to do with why he is here now. I am sure this guy can give all of us a one hour clinic that would make everyone of us feel like we just stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night. I have the highest respect for him, and hope he stays on through new management – and given his relationship for Luhnow, who has been his boss for a decade now – I would assume so.

      That said, I will repeat that I am not really for giving credit for McHugh’s improvements to anyone but McHugh. All those nice things I said about Strom, they apply to almost every pitching coach in the game. They are all great, nice guys who point out the little things. It’s not the first time McHugh has heard the same “pitch” from a coach. It probably was the first time some guy showed up with a spreadsheet and said this pitch statistically works, and this one doesn’t.

      McHugh is the only guy on the staff that throws his fastball less than half the time.

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      • There is no doubt that the key here is McHugh’s ability to throw breaking pitches for strikes or close enough to elicit a swing.
        I don’t know if Strom was the catalyst for this but I will give him credit for a pitching staff that is the best in the majors at forcing ground balls.
        I think that is a consistent philosophy that you can see throughout the staff.

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      • And McHugh said that Strom was the guy who got him to throw his fastball less and higher and play it off his curve rather than playing his curve off his fastball. Collin said this happened in spring training and when he was sent to AAA he worked on these changes, The success started after several starts in OKC and then things clicked and when Feldman got hurt, McHugh came back with a new way of pitching.
        Collin doesn’t gush over Strom but he acknowledges that the idea of how he now pitches came from Strom.
        The idea Strom had to make the curve Collin’s core pitch came from all the data the club had accumulated on him which said his curve had the highest spin rate of any curve in the majors except one other and I can’t recall who that was. McHughs spin rate is almost 500 higher than the average curve.

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  10. After all those years owning a baseball team, he is just as clueless as ever. Reading that was like watching a 100 foot tall gorilla falling in love with a five foot tall blond. None of it made any sense.

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  11. The pitchers put out a good effort again yesterday – luckily the Astros offense had the 3 runs in the 6th. Of course they got almost the minimum you could out of having the first 6 batters reach base with 5 singles and a HBP. Losing two guys on the base paths reminded me of 2013.
    But yes, Becky they made the 70 wins, won’t be caught by the Rangers and hopefully Altuve will hold onto that 6 point lead over Victor Martinez in the batting race.

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  12. Well i think you all covered it all so ditto. 82 wins, TV, real major league talent at 3rd and first, solid experienced MGR, bullpen, and Lunhole keeps his pie hole shut!

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    • Yep. There are three teams which will definitely finish with worse records than us (ARI, COL, TEX). We are tied with MIN and one game behind BOS. FWIW, we had a legit shot at less than 90 losses entering this weekend. I would not have believed that entering the season.

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  13. So, if Oakland loses tomorrow and Seattle can win tonight and tomorrow, will we have a one game playoff to decide which team plays the Royals / Tigers in a one game, Wild Card matchup? We need this to happen, right?

    What is the Altuve (.340) v. Martinez (.337) for batting title scenario tomorrow?

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  14. These guys are going to face Bartolo Colon tomorrow, and even though he’s 40 yrs. old…………he’s still pretty dang good. I have a pretty good feeling, that Altuve will get at least one hit tomorrow! Keep your fingers crossed fellas!!
    p.s. The one and ONLY time I have ever rooted for the Rangers was tonight………
    I *hate* the A’s.

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    • Too bad they didnt move Marwin over to short.

      Altuve is a REAL ballplayer. You’d never see HalfAsstro lobby to get in the lineup…not until he’s done reading his comics, anyway.

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  15. Part of me is sad to finish this season…………but I’m excited to see who, we see
    on the field next year. What we learned is Stassi can, and WILL be joining our catching staff next year. We learned that Tropeano will be a DANG good pitcher, and I hope he can get with Strom to refine some of his pitches. We now have our very first batting title with Altuve!! Congrats kid, we couldn’t be more proud of you!
    For everyone who is clammering for another third base man, there are a few guys
    who could, or would want to come here, but they are NOT going to take a one year contract.
    Most of the free agents are all over 30yrs. old…….so Luhnow is going to HAVE to make a trade, and it WILL involve a first line starter, and at LEAST two other good
    players. You simply can’t keep the corner infield like it is right now, or the black hole at short. Luhnow has already said he wants Singelton to go play winter ball………
    and I think there are going to be others as well

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  16. I noticed Altuve getting that quick little hug from Mets second baseman and fellow Venezuelan Wilmer Flores after the gapped double. Sweet moment. Gigante will get a well deserved hero’s welcome when he gets back to his homeland.

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  17. Speaking of oddities, Mike Trout is going to win the American League MVP in spite of having led the league in strike outs. Can’t imagine that’s ever happened before.

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  18. I am very happy for Altuve and all us fans who have suffered through this rebuild. This batting championship gives us something to enjoy.

    I see we finished tied with the Twins. I believe we split the season series with them. Who picks ahead whom in the draft next season? Do we have the 1-2 and 1-5 or 1-6?

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  19. I think we need a “Sunday morning quarter back” kind of conversation. What worked, and what didn’t. And who is your pick for the next manager. Now that we have the very FIRST batting champion……….do we think he can do it again next year? Maybe Springer?
    DanP, Chip, BrianT………..anyone out there????

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  20. 1. Success to me in 2015 looks like a record over .500. If most of our prospects are still producing in the minors and we end up with 83 wins in the majors, I would consider that a successful season.
    2. To me, the keys to success in 2015 is a manager who knows how to make winning moves during a game and a GM who makes enough good moves in the offseason and gives the manager the players he needs in two more positions to be able to make those moves on the field and a legitimate closer.
    3. I consider 2014 to be a successful year by Astros/Luhnow standards. I consider it to be below successful when using standards of other teams in the major leagues. Show my work: If you were the general manager of any MLB team, would you admit to any reporter that a year in which you went 70-92 to be a successful one. Show me a GM other than ours who would say yes and still has his job.

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  21. Chip, Unfortunately, there is no way to send you an email, but I am looking for a fair explananation to why my last post was deleted. I didn’t say anything inflammatory or deragatory. I didn’t make any personal attacks. Feel free to send me an email if you wish to, but I am very disheartened that this happened. What is going on?

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